Starting a business, or any new venture, is often accompanied by the chilling presence of risk. Statistically speaking, about one in five new businesses fail within their first year, and the years following claim nearly half of the remaining. So, it’s natural to feel trepidation. However, the risk associated with our divine callings – be it the formation of a business, a ministry, or a family – often mirrors our commitment to live sacrificially. So, let’s delve into the crux of failure and how to brave it with faith.
External Risks: The Known Unknowns Fear of failure often springs from variables beyond our control. Everything from economic fluctuations to weather patterns could make or break our entrepreneurial endeavors. However, God blessed us with intelligence, wisdom, and the capacity to learn. We can use these tools to discern whether the potential risk is justified by the possible reward.
For example, consider a simple coin toss venture—heads, you win; tails, you lose. Would you risk it for “heads, I win $1.01; tails, I lose $1”? Probably not. But “heads, I win $100; tails, I lose $0.01”? That’s a risk worth taking!
Despite our measured attempts to manage risk, the fear can be intimidating. External factors causing negative outcomes are part of our fallen world. As Ecclesiastes 9:11 eloquently states, “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”
Facing these external risks provides us an opportunity to trust God more. The Scripture in Ecclesiastes 11:2, 5-6 encourages us to embrace risks, for in our inability to fully understand God’s work, we sow our seeds in the morning and evening, uncertain of which will prosper.
Confronting external risks with faith teaches us to trust in God’s plan and provision. If we can trust God with our eternal destiny, surely we can entrust him with our earthly ventures.
Internal Risks: Unraveling the Self The other side of the risk coin is the uncertainty about our own capabilities. Am I intelligent, strong, or wise enough to pull this off? This fear of discovering our shortcomings can challenge our very identity.
But remember, God is intimately aware of our limitations. He, our Creator and Guide, understands our frailties. Just as He reassured Moses in Exodus 4:11-12, God can equip us with what we need to succeed in the venture He has called us to.
Moreover, this fear of failure can lead us to surrender our pride and fully embrace our identity in Christ. The gospel reminds us that we cannot earn our salvation; it’s a gift of grace. Recognizing our fear of failure as a call to lean more into our identity in Christ is a transformative spiritual journey.
Sometimes, God calls us to undertake ventures that seem destined to “fail” from our human perspective. Isaiah was called to preach to people who wouldn’t listen, and Paul experienced imprisonment. Jesus Himself was crucified, the ultimate seeming failure that was, in fact, the ultimate success. Our apparent failures could be God’s successes in disguise.
So, challenge your fear of failure. Perhaps it’s signaling that the venture isn’t right for you at this moment. Alternatively, it may reveal a residual doubt in God’s goodness. Embrace this fear and bring it before Jesus, for He can transform it into deeper faith. When God calls us to risks, one constant outcome is our increased trust in Him.